The New Jersey Legislature is currently considering a bill that would suspend the imposition of development fees on non-residential construction projects. Like previous moratoriums, the goal is to encourage the development of commercial projects throughout New Jersey. Pursuant to the Statewide Non-residential Development Fee Act, the amount of the development fee is equal to 2.5 percent of a project’s equalized assessed value including land and improvements. The fee must be paid by the commercial project developer prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy. The law has been suspended several times since it was first passed in 2008. A previous moratorium suspended the collection of such fees until July 1, 2013. However, it lapsed when Gov. Chris Christie conditionally vetoed a bill last year that also included the “New Jersey Residential Foreclosure Transformation Act.” The Latest Moratorium Proposal Under the latest proposal (A-2542), the moratorium would be extended through December 31, 2015. The bill also provides that:
  • Municipalities are required to return any monies paid during the time period commencing on July 1, 2013 through the effective date of the bill due to the previous expiration of the moratorium.
  • If monies are eligible to be returned under the bill, a developer shall file a claim within 120 days of the bill's effective date and the municipality must promptly review the claim and return the fee to the developer within 30 days of the claim.
  • Municipalities that are eligible to collect non-residential development fees would not be required to refund monies that have already been expended by the municipality on affordable housing projects.
Earlier this month, the bill was released by the Assembly Budget Committee. A companion bill is pending in the Senate. We will continue to track the status of this legislation and provide updates as they become available. If you have any questions about this post or would like to discuss your company’s development projects, please contact me, Victor Kinon, or the Scarinci Hollenbeck attorney with whom you work.